The Latest: Hotel collapse: Blasted cranes fell as expected

NEW ORLEANS (AP) — The Latest on demolition of cranes in New Orleans (all times local):

4:50 p.m.

Authorities say the demolition of two cranes leaning precariously over a partially collapsed New Orleans hotel went exactly as expected and the “next objective” is to retrieve the bodies of two dead workers still in the ruined building.

Mayor LaToya Cantrell told a news conference after Sunday afternoon’s controlled explosions of the cranes that “we know that we are safer now than we have been in the past eight days” since the hotel collapsed.

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She told reporters near the hotel site that authorities will now begin focusing on bringing out the two remaining workers who died when the Hard Rock Hotel under construction collapsed Oct. 12, killing three workers. One body was removed earlier.

Fire Chief Tim McConnell said one sewer line was damaged by falling debris from the blasts but overall, “I do not think it could have gone much better.” He says part of one crane fell and got “hooked on the building like we wanted. It’s very stable.” He says it will be cut away in pieces and removed. The other crane crashed to the ground.

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3:05 p.m.

New Orleans officials set off thundering blasts intended to topple two cranes that had been looming precariously over a partially collapsed hotel, but only one crane appeared to make it to the ground.

The explosions sent off massive clouds of dust Sunday afternoon. After the dust cleared, a large part of one crane could still be seen hanging atop the building. The end of one of the cranes, meanwhile, fell to the ground.

Authorities had no immediate update after Sunday’s blasts about the status of the cranes but said they would provide an update later in the day.

The demolition comes a little over a week after the shocking collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel that was being built near a corner of the city’s historic French Quarter. The collapse killed three workers.

The two cranes had been badly damaged when the hotel’s upper floors pancaked onto each other, sending debris tumbling to the street and plumes of dust into the air.

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2:38 p.m.

New Orleans officials have set off a series of explosions designed to topple two cranes that had been looming precariously over the ruins of a partially collapsed hotel, but only one appears to have fallen to the ground.

The demolition was carried out Sunday afternoon, a little more than a week after the shocking collapse of the Hard Rock Hotel that was being built near the city’s historic French Quarter. Loud blasts boomed over the city skyline as most of one crane appeared to fall to the ground as a large part of another appeared after the blasts to still be hanging atop the hotel.

The two cranes were badly damaged when the hotel’s upper floors had collapsed onto each other on Oct. 12. Three workers died in the collapse.

Officials had feared earlier that the cranes would come down on their own, possibly hitting nearby buildings or severely damaging underground gas and electric lines.

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City officials in New Orleans are planning to use a series of controlled explosions to take down two cranes that have been standing precariously over the remains of a partially collapsed hotel.

The operation was originally set for Friday and then pushed back to Saturday. Then on Saturday, officials said it would happen on Sunday.

Fire Chief Tim McConnell said as workers got up closer to the cranes to set the explosives, they discovered the cranes were more damaged than originally thought. That changed the plans they had for taking down the cranes.

The Hard Rock Hotel under construction at the corner of Canal and Rampart Streets at the edge of the historic French Quarter partially collapsed Oct. 12, killing three workers.

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